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Google embracing plant based to reach sustainability goal

Technology giant Google has not been short of innovation in its 18 year history thus far – and now the company is in search of new ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

Quite simply, Google recognises that animal agriculture contributes heavily to climate change and is looking to reduce the amount of animal products consumed by its staff during the working day; the company are not forcing a plant-based diet on anyone, but it is certainly pointing them in the right direction.

Take its Sunnyvale campus in California as an example. There, one of the multitude of eateries for staff lists a vegan burger before anything else on the menu on Fridays and also ‘blends’ mushrooms into its meat burgers to reduce the amount of meat being used.

The campus has a Vietnamese café which lists vegetable broth before meat and a Mexican establishment for which the chef is working on a vegan taco recipe which can knock the socks off even the sternest meat eater.

Scott Giambastiani, Google’s global food programme chef and operations manager said: “We were trying to solve for a delicious alternative that would displace a good proportion of animal protein.

“It might be completely vegetarian, or it might be what we call a flipped product, where you’re eating 20 per cent or 30 per cent less of the animal protein.”

The company have slowly increased the amount of mushroom in the aforementioned blended patty from 20 per cent to 50 per cent.

Giambiastini added: “It’s moving people along a continuum, whether people are eating red meat every day and you ask them to start eating a little more white meat, or they’re already on a white meat kick and it’s a little bit more seafood, or moving even further along to alternative proteins or produce. You can’t expect everyone to start loving lentils day one.

“Some do, most don’t. What you’re trying to do instead is get people to think about that continuum. We need to think through how we can make a better choice easier for people”.

Google is certainly on the right track in terms of environmental awareness — and its sustainability targets, such as obtaining 100 per cent renewable energy, is evidence of that, alongside the plant-based changes to its menus.

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